Ezra 1:5-11

I have a rosary that symbolizes a spiritual experience in my life. The Mixtec tribe of Vicente Guerrero, Baja California, Mexico made this rosary. Cut squares of abalone shell and round glass beads descend to a simple, silver crucifix. My rosary reminds me of the summers I spent traveling as a Spanish-language interpreter, serving with mission teams in beautiful Baja. It speaks to me of a continual calling on my life to seek justice and encourage the oppressed. 

In today’s passage, King Cyrus responds to his calling to let the oppressed go free. Not only does he release the captives to rebuild their temple, he releases to them the items taken from the temple during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. These items represent their rich faith tradition and history. They reflect the ancestry of a chosen people who lived out their faith, and they remind the people of God’s continued calling on their lives. 

What must it have meant for them to see these objects that were once part of their ancestors’ worship? Did they offer thanks and tears of joy when they saw these reminders of their spiritual legacy, these holy emblems of the years of worship that had been lifted to God? 

With trembling hands, the recovering exiles restore these gold and silver vessels to their rightful purpose. They will speak to God’s people once again, reminding them of their continued calling. 

What tangible object has become a symbol for you of God’s purpose for your life? 


In this giving season, what could you offer someone you love to remind them of a spiritually enriching time in their life? 


Redeeming God, thank you for joyful reminders that you are my strength each day. Amen.

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